City Council

The cornerstone of city government in Minnesota is the elected city council. The city council fashions the policies that determine a community's present and future well-being. Citizens look to their local government for leadership in planning and managing community development. (League of Minnesota Cities, "Handbook for Minnesota Cities," Elected officials and council structure and role, 1997, page 115.)

The City of Orono is established as a statutory "Plan A" City under Minnesota Statues.

Composition

The City Council is comprised of a mayor and four council members. Currently the mayor is elected at-large for a four-year term and the council members are elected at-large for a four-year term (two each election). 

Terms of Office

All terms of office in statutory cities begin on the first business day of January following an election. The terms of the old officers end at this time, or as soon as the newly elected officers qualify by taking an oath.

Regular Meetings

  • 6:00 p.m.
  • 2nd and 4th Monday of each month
  • Orono Council Chambers
    2780 Kelley Parkway
    Orono, MN 55356

Work Sessions

  • 5 p.m.
  • 2nd and 4th Monday of each month
  • Orono Council Chambers
    2780 Kelley Parkway
    Orono, MN 55356

Orono Council Members

The Orono City Council is composed of one (1) Mayor and four (4) City Council members who are elected at large. The Mayor is elected for a four-year term and the City Council members are elected for a four-year term. 

Dennis Walsh portrait

Mayor Dennis Walsh

Term expires: December 31, 2024

Email Dennis Walsh

Duties of the Mayor

In addition to being a full member of the city council with all of the duties and responsibilities that come with that office, the mayor is also the official head of the city.  As the official head of the city, the mayor has three main responsibilities:

  • To serve as the city’s representative before the Minnesota Legislature, federal agencies, and other local governments.
  • To perform ceremonial duties on behalf of the community and to be prepared to explain and defend city problems and programs.
  • To exert leadership in city affairs. Because mayors of statutory cities lack significant individual authority, this responsibility often calls for tact more than overt acts of direction or supervisory control.

The mayor is also responsible to:

  • Execute official documents by signing ordinances, meeting minutes, claims for payment and contracts authorized by the city council.
  • Make appointments to fill vacancies in elective offices if the council vote to fill the vacancy is tied.
  • Serve as the presiding officer at council meetings.
  • Perform election duties as required by statute.
  • Declare emergencies.
  • Perform or delegate the duties of Official Weed Inspector.
  • Perform or delegate fire investigation duties as required by statute.

victoria seals

Council Member Victoria Seals

Term expires: December 31, 2024

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richard crosby

council member Richard F. Crosby II

Term expires: December 31, 2024

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Matt Johnson

Council Member Matt Johnson

Term expires: December 31, 2022

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Duties of City Council Members

The council as a whole, has complete authority over all administrative affairs in the City of Orono.  In other words, the Council, not individual members, must supervise administrative officers, formulate policies, and exercise city powers.

Areas of Responsibility for Individual Council members

  • Act as liaisons between the city and the public.
  • Balance the conduct of daily affairs of the city with the consideration of future development.
  • Fully participate at city council meetings. Each council member, including the mayor, has full authority to make second motions, participate in discussions, and vote on every matter before the council.
  • Judging the qualification and election of its own members.
  • Setting and interpreting rules governing proceedings.
  • Preserve Order during its meetings.
  • To compel the attendance of members at meetings.
  • Exercising all the powers of cities that the law does not delegate to others.
  • Legislating for the City.
  • Directing the enforcement of city ordinances.
  • Appointing administrative personnel.
  • Transacting city business.
  • Managing the city’s financial operations.
  • Appointing members to various commissions and boards.
  • Conducting the city’s intergovernmental affairs.
  • Protecting the welfare of the city and its inhabitants.
  • Providing community leadership.
  • Other specific powers related to services the City provides